Celebrating tobacco control “wins” and paving the path to progress at ECToH

The 7th European Conference on Tobacco OR Health, hosted in Porto, Portugal from 22-24 March, provided opportunities for learning, networking, and celebrating progress in tobacco control.  A few highlights:

Luc Joosens introduced the updated Tobacco Control Scale for Europe announcing that the United Kingdom remains the most advanced tobacco control country in the region, followed by Ireland, Iceland, France, Norway, and Finland.  The scale is based on a survey of tobacco control activity in 35 European countries in 2016; of 100 possible points a country might earn for its tobacco control activity, 10 are allocated to various measures of cessation support.

Geoff Fong presented on the impact of Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) implementation, drawing on an analysis of WHO data from 126 countries recently published in Lancet Public Health.  The analysis found that increases in highest-level implementation of key FCTC measures between 2007 and 2014 were significantly associated with a decrease in smoking prevalence between 2005 and 2015.

Yumiko Mochizuki traveled from Tokyo to represent the Japan Cancer Society (JCS) at the conference.  Global Bridges is working with JCS to develop a grant program to support capacity building for tobacco dependence treatment in Japan. 

Global Bridges grantee Witold Zatonski described the significant health impact of the Polish Anti-Tobacco law, which was implemented in 1996.   At that time, the legislation marked a real revolution in the field of tobacco control and health promotion in Poland and throughout the region, and is largely credited for the precipitous decline in smoking prevalence and lung cancer in Poland over the next two decades. Professor Zatonski and colleagues have recently published a series of articles that document the changes that occurred in the region as the result of this work.